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    Articles > May 2006
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Binocular Stargazing

This handy, easy-to-follow guide explains how to observe everything from the moon to meteor showers with binoculars.
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Celstron SkyMaster Giant
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You will be amazed at what you can see with a good pair of binoculars. The Celestron SkyMaster15x70 binoculars are an excellent, low-cost choice for the urban skywatcher. Discounted at Amazon.com.
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  Sky Calendar -- May 2006
2 Moon near Mars at 11h UT (evening sky). Mag. +1.5.
3 Moon near Pollux at 11h UT (evening sky).
4 Moon near Saturn at 11h UT (evening sky). Mag. +0.3.
4 Jupiter at opposition at 14h UT (mag. -2.5). The best time to observe the largest planet in the solar system.
4 Moon near Beehive cluster at 15h UT (evening sky).
5 First Quarter Moon at 5:13 UT.
6 Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks at 6h UT. Active from April 19 to May 28. Very fast, bright meteors, up to 30-50 per hour are forecast. Skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes should look in the southeast 1 to 2 hours before dawn on 6 May.
The Eta Aquarids by Gary W. Kronk
6 Astronomy Day 2006 is today! Astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories, and science museums worldwide will offer a variety of public activities.
Astronomy Day Web Site
6 Moon near Regulus at 13h UT (evening sky).
7 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 7h UT (distance 404,572 km; angular size 29.5').
11 Moon very near Spica at 0h UT (evening sky). Occultation visible from Newfoundland, West Indies, Eastern Brazil, and Central Africa.
Occultation of Spica (IOTA)
12 Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (S-W 3) nearest to Earth at 10h UT (11.8 million km). The comet broke apart in 1995 into several fragments. The comet is continuing to break up during its current apparition. At peak mag. 3.5, Comet S-W 3 (Fragment C) should be easily visible in binoculars although moonlight will interfere by mid-May. The current apparition favors the Northern Hemisphere -- see comet path shown on The Evening Sky Map, May 2006 (Northern Hemisphere). From southern latitudes, Comet S-W 3 will appear low in the north-northeast sky after midnight.
Comet S-W 3 by Gary W. Kronk
Mini-Comets Approaching Earth (NASA)
Sky & Telescope Updates
12 Moon near Jupiter at 13h UT. Mag. -2.5.
13 Full Moon at 6:51 UT. The full Moon of May is called the "Planting Moon" or "Milk Moon".
14 Moon very near Antares at 14h UT (morning sky). Occultation visible from Indonesia, Australia, & New Zealand.
Occultation of Antares (IOTA)
18 Mercury at superior conjunction at 20h UT (not visible). The elusive planet passes into the evening sky.
20 Last Quarter Moon at 9:21 UT.
22 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 15h UT (368,609 km; 32.4').
24 Moon near Venus at 5h UT (morning sky). Mag -4.0.
27 New Moon at 5:26 UT. Beginning of lunation 1032.
30 Moon near Pollux at 20h UT (evening sky).
31 Moon near Mars at 5h UT (evening sky). Mag. +1.7.
31 Moon near Saturn at 23h UT (evening sky). Mag. +0.3.
31 Moon near Beehive cluster at 23h UT (evening sky).
All times Universal Time (UT). USA Eastern Summer Time = UT - 4 hours.

Clear skies till next month!

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